I can promise you that women working together—linked, informed and educated—can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet. —Isabel Allende
The holiday season is a time of peace on earth and good will toward (wo)men, or so the old hymn says. Yet, this can be difficult to remember when fighting for a parking spot at the mall or standing in a mile-long line at Toys R Us. This year, instead of engaging in the madness, do as our favorite Latina celeb philanthropists do: Give the give the gift of charity. It’s the perfect last-minute gift: You can make a donation online, print the paperwork and put it an envelope addressed to your spouse, significant other or amiga who has everything.
Here are a few of our favorite Latina celebs and the children’s charities that are dear to their hearts all year long.
SELENA GOMEZ & UNICEF
In 2009, at age 17, Selena Gomez became the youngest UNICEF goodwill ambassador. UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, works for children’s rights worldwide and is devoted to their survival, development, and protection. As an ambassador she has travelled the globe on mission trips, performed several charity concerts, and helped raise awareness among her young fans.
Of her commitment to UNICEF Selena states: “Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with UNICEF in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality.”
By making a donation, big or small, you can help Selena and UNICEF approach that zero visit UNICEF.
Also, this holiday season, Selena is taking part in UNICEF’s annual “Holiday Gifts that Give Back” program, which offers a collection of items with proceeds that will go towards children worldwide. She will also be blogging for the 12 Days of UNICEF, beginning on December 12 and continuing until December 23. Check in with Selena daily to read about her best holiday memories and her favorite UNICEF inspired gifts.
EVA LONGORIA & EVA’S HEROES
In 2006, inspired by her sister, Lisa, Eva Longoria founded Eva’s Heroes, a non-profit organization that strives to enrich the developmentally disabled children and young adults. Based in San Antonio, Eva’s Heroes provides activities and programs, which give the participants the opportunity to engage and flourish in their community. A few such activities include: dances, museum nights, arts and craft nights, dining out, cooking classes, and movie outings. Eva’s Heroes has built an inclusive and enriching atmosphere based upon four major tenets: interact, grow, learn, and love.
To donate or volunteer visit Eva’s Heroes.
Eva is also a leading advocate for Padres Contre El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer) and for migrant farm children, which is the subject of a documentary she is working on called The Harvest. In a recent interview about her charity work, Eva was asked where her drive comes from. She responded: “My philanthropic drive definitely comes from my mother. My Latino pride —my Mexican-American pride—comes from my father, who always taught me to never forget where you came from, and I never do. There are a lot of privileges that I have, and so many people fought before me, so that I could have it. So I want to continue their fight to make a better life for those who want it and earn it and need it.”
DAISY FUENTES & ST. JUDE’S CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
Daisy states, “The one message I would like to get across to people is that you don’t have to close your eyes to what these children are facing. As tragic as it is to know that a child is suffering from a catastrophic disease, it’s very important to see what’s going on at St. Jude. Once you see it, you realize that there is hope and that we need to do what we can to feed that hope.”Daisy Fuentes has been an avid and active supporter of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 1998 when she first walked through its doors in Memphis, Tennessee. She toured the facility and visited with the children in the hospital, many of whom were in masks and had lost their hair due to chemotherapy. From that very first visit Daisy realized, “St Jude is a place where miracles happen every day.” The mission of St Jude is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. One of the great miracles of St Jude is that no child is denied treatment based on a family’s inability to pay.
To help feed the hope and help a child in need, visit St Jude’s website.
JENNIFER LOPEZ & THE MARIBEL FOUNDATION
Jennifer Lopez and her sister, Lynda, both became mothers in 2008. The experience of new motherhood inspired the sisters to reach out to mothers and children in need. Shortly thereafter, they created the Maribel Foundation to help all women and children attain the quality health care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. The sisters explain the inspiration for the foundation: “We grew up in a neighborhood that was not privileged, with an awareness of what many must go without. The number of children that grow up without access to quality health care, doctors, and health care facilities, is unacceptable.”
The Maribel Foundation invests in programs that bring proper healthcare and health-education to under-served communities, thus empowering the women and children in these neighborhoods. As Jennifer states on the homepage of the website, “Where children are concerned, there is no time to lose.”
To learn more and how you can help out, visit The Maribel Foundation’s website.